Staunch Netanyahu opponent Liberman asks Schumer to butt out of Israeli politics

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Yisrael Beytenu party leader MK Avigdor Liberman arrives to a court hearing on petitions against a government law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Yisrael Beytenu party leader MK Avigdor Liberman arrives to a court hearing on petitions against a government law at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, September 28, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Despite his own long-standing insistence that the current government has “no right to exist,” hawkish Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman criticizes US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s recent call for Israel to hold elections to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Insisting that outsiders not interfere in internal Israeli politics, Liberman tells reporters at his party’s weekly faction meeting that “it’s better to be smart than correct.”

However, he declines to engage in the kind of harsh criticism expressed by Netanyahu, who responded to the American Jewish lawmaker’s statement by declaring that Israel was “not a banana republic,” during an appearance on Fox News.

Calling Schumer “very pro-Israel,” Liberman says that there is no need to engage in a fight over his comments.

His rhetoric is echoed by Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, who, ahead of his Yesh Atid party’s own faction meeting, accuses Netanyahu of harming US-Israel relations.

American support is Israel’s “political Iron Dome,” he says, adding that while he had sharp disagreements with the Americans, he did not engage in criticism in front of the cameras.

Chuck Schumer is a “lover of Israel” and a “friend,” he says.

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